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Russian hockey players badly outplayed the Americans at the Olympics

18 February, 2018, 06:47 | Author: Sylvester Abbott
  • Supporters of Russian athletes wait before the preliminary round of the men's hockey game between the team from Russia and the United States at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung South Korea Saturday Feb. 17 2018

Anna Shokhina had two goals and two assists as the "Olympic Athletes from Russia" advanced with an upset 6-2 win over Switzerland on Saturday.

There's still plenty at stake this time with the USA looking to win its first Olympic gold medal since the "Miracle On Ice" in 1980.

It was a physical game from the moment the puck dropped, with the Russians, pound for pound a bigger team, leveling a hit on an American each time a USA player touched the puck. But Granato failed to acknowledge Russia's Oleg Znarok, according to NBC's between-the-benches analyst Pierre McGuire, who said on the broadcast Granato was "furious" with Team OAR's coaches for sending out their top power-play unit with less than two minutes remaining in a game that was already well in hand.

Needless to say, if the USA hadn't laid an egg in the first 58 minutes, Granato would have nothing to be upset about. Former Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov assisted on the play.

"It was a knuckle-puck and from a pretty long way away", said Zapolski, whom Granato confirmed would remain the US starter moving forward. "They won't feel like real, absolute winners".

This night lacked the tense political subtext of the Cold War from their 1980 meeting and the pomp and circumstance of Russian President Vladimir Putin attending and the pressure on the home team in Sochi in 2014, but it had the same kind of in-arena atmosphere. Prokhorkin then struck again to make it 2-0 for the Red Machine early in the second 20 minutes.

"I don't see any reason why we're not in the gold medal game", he said. But head coach Sarah Murray said they won't get blown away so easily this time. "I thought we did a lot of good things the first three games".

The US won't learn its next-round opponent until after Sunday's final day of preliminary round play.

Captain Jan Mursak scored the first goal for the Slovenians, who came from two goals down in the third period to beat the United States in overtime on Wednesday.

Russian goaltender Vasili Koshechkin made 29 saves in the shutout.

"At times we were outmatched", forward Brian Gionta of the USA told NBC. "If there's an International Olympic Committee rule then we'll talk to them, explain it and take a photograph without the flag".

"We played well", Kovalchuk said. Alexander Barabanov had all the time in the world behind the net and dished the puck to KHL star Sergei Mozyakin, who found Prokhorkin free and clear in front for the deflection goal. "We're just devoting ourselves to it and supporting our athletes, because there's not so many people here from our country".

But if the scoring picks up, Granato thinks anything is possible.

"I thought we played well enough to deserve better than a 4-0 game", Granato said. "They have a great team".

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